I have been listening to Dr Michael Mosley’s podcast about making simple changes to your life to improve your health. There is one that I have taken to heart so far, although I have not listened to all of them as yet. In a fascinating 15 minute podcast, he advised taking a brisk walk, of at least 30 minutes, within two hours of waking up. I have been heeding this advice most of 2022 so far and I have to say that it is working well for me. The benefits are supposed to be :
- To enhance my good mood by producing serotonin, which is a feel good hormone
- To help me to wake up properly, by stopping the production of melatonin so that I become a morning person – that has certainly happened to me, with around 5am being my usual wake up time these days
- To improve my heart health if my walks are brisk enough. I learned that brisk is defined as fast enough that I can still talk while walking but that I would not be able to sing!
- To improve the quality of my sleep: certainly have no difficulty in getting to sleep now, I am nodding off in my chair from 10.30 onwards. I attributed this to my early starts rather than the walks themselves.
In addition, I love the time to myself with just me and nature, hearing and seeing the world waking up around me. At home I have been privileged enough to see barn owls finishing their evening hunt and timid deer moving out of our way. Yesterday, the dogs were driven demented by hundreds of rabbits rushing back to their burrows. I have photographed some stunning sunrises this last week and I have sat on the beach on a rock or a tree trunk and enjoyed the speedy rising of the sun. That certainly has topped up my daylight quota. I have loved taking the dogs out for walks and they are now getting used to the early starts and have come to expect it, whereas initially they looked at me as though I was a mad woman picking up their leads before dawn.
As well as witnessing nature unfold on my walks, I have to admit that I enjoy some time to myself, a walk just for me with no Joshua, no husband. They are still fast asleep when I set off, and hopefully when I get back too. I only have to worry about myself and my dogs, no thoughts of seizures, daycare or other such concerns. I am much more aware of my surroundings and I walk for at least an hour, but while on holiday it has been nearer two hours, from 6am until 8am. It feels like my secret, private time alone with my thoughts and I love it. Now I do not know if I am feeling good because of the early walking, or if I feel good, so I am able to do the early walks> But I do know that I feel better for them and with the lighter mornings of spring and summer on their way, I hope to keep them up and maybe go further as I get fitter. I did change just one thing, as Dr. Mosley advised, and it seems to be making a difference already.